Bloggers don’t usually start out with a dedicated server. Blogs that now make millions were at one point a school kid’s garage project. So to cut things short, you should not buy dedicated servers right from the start.
Blogs take time to fetch results
A blog can take anywhere between 6 months to 2 years to build up its authority in the online space. Considering articles two blogs of same quality are published in two different blogs, the older blog will always perform better because it had been around for a while and the search engines kind of trust its content more.
So, if you are planning to launch your very first blog or starting afresh, bear in mind that during the first 6 months (at least) you may not see too many visitors. Do not consider this a hard and fast rule because the internet discounts everything.
Dedicated servers are damn expensive
If you own a multi-million business and make in a week what most people make in a year, you MAY consider a dedicated server. Despite its touted performance and control, for an entry-level blogger, the exorbitant cost may not be worth it. More importantly, from my personal experience, in the first few months of my blogging, I never saw the visitor count exceed 500, a figure that is pretty much manageable on a shared server.
Shared servers are best to start with
What you would pay in a month for a dedicated host, you will not pay in a year on shared hosting. Shared hosts are way too cheap and cost less than your subway lunch. What’s interesting is that the traffic that you would encounter during your premature year can be handle pretty easily by most shared hosts.
This is particularly cool, given that only 3 out of 20 blogs taste success, so you may want to dabble with things first and minimize your investments. Imagine if you enter into a contract with your host and lease a dedicated server for one year only to realize that the niche does not have as many visitors as you had first thought.
VPS is often the solution
Even if you have outgrown your shared hosts, moving on to a dedicated machine might not make sense just as yet. There is an intermediary solution called the VPS (virtual private server), a mix of shared and dedicated hosts, which should solve your problem of traffic surge.
Bloggers that we know are on VPS for years and, despite the heavy traffic on their websites, never complained of resources being inadequate. My point is, even if you are anticipating crazily massive traffic, you would never need a dedicated server to host a blog. But like we said, the internet discounts everything, there are indeed blogs that had outgrown VPS as well. And if this is the case, and it better be, a dedicated server is the only solution.
Any blogger with this much traffic on his website probably makes enough money in a month to pay off his server bills for the year.
Your niche matters
Not all niches make the same amount of money. Blogs that review gadgets and other devices usually earn more because they have affiliate ties with major e-commerce platforms. On every buy that takes place from the links on these blogs, the blogger gets a small commission, which adds up to a colossal earning at day’s end. Competition in such niches is also equally high and without the right resource, you may end up with nothing even after years of efforts.
So, if your niche is just as rewarding or the competition is fairly low, you should try your luck and balance out the uncertainty with hard work. But with niches that have very little potential for earning, you should stick with a low-end server, except if you have another source of income and are okay spending some money pursuing blogging.
The ideal path
For every website and online business, the best way to start is to first host on a shared server and gradually move towards the advanced server segments as the website age. There’s no fixed period as to when the migration would need to be undertaken. It may take anywhere between 6 months to 3 years for you to make your first server upgrade, provided that you really make efforts to make ends meet.
The way around it
If you aren’t really a fan of upgrades, migrations and care less about the minutes of a physical server, you might as well try cloud hosting. That way, you could stick around with just one host and upgrade from time to time with zero migrations at all. Do note that requirements change from time to time and what you may expect from your server today, may not be what you want tomorrow.